Washer Fluid and Orange Lights

This is from an internal MINI UK bulletin and it may just be the most underrated change of the past year:

The washer bottle capacity will increase on all models by 0.4 litres to approximately 2.5 litres. In addition, an orange warning lamp will be situated on the right hand stalk to advise customers when their washer fluid is running low. The alarm warning lamp will thus move to the left hand stalk.

It may sound trivial but for MINI owners that live in the snow belt where washing the windshield must be done every couple of minutes in in-climate weather… it's a big improvement. This change will go into effect for 1/05 production and beyond.

Thanks to Alex for the photo.

  • Excellent. For left hand drive cars, the flashing alarm light moving to the other stalk is better too – more visible when looking through the driver window. Of course, that makes it less visible in England …

  • Great news indeed! Here in MN it felt like I was adding more fluid every 10 minutes. So this new capacity, is that roughly equivalent to the whole bottle of washer fluid? My wife's Focus took the whole bottle when it was dry and that was nice.

    Thanks for the info.


  • Matt Coon

    Excellent. Any idea if the tank would be retrofittable on '02-early '05?



  • Mike

    Adam beat me to it.

    Sith, part of the pleasure of owning this vehicle is the process of making it my own. In Minnesota a washer warning light is a great idea, and if I were going to design and create my own car that would be included (now that someone else has thought of it)… well, with retrofitting that's exactly what I get to do… design and create my own car… starting of course from my ideal foundation.

    IOW, chill.


  • Damon Duree

    That is a great improvement. Even here in California the washer fluid tank is woefully too small. Good for only a few uses. My Alfa Romeo 164 held a little over a gallon which meant filling it once a year. A small tank wouldn't be such a problem if there was a light to warn you it is low. It seems the tank is always empty when I need it.



    Where in CA do you live?

    I live south of LA and I think I have used the washer less than 6 times in the year I have owned the car.

    So this reminds me, I better check the fluid level to make sure it hasn't just evaporated.

    :):) Bill

  • Rodney

    I'm sorry SITH LORD it's a disease I have. I plan to purchase a 2005 but still find my self retro fitting my 03 which will just get traded in. Maybe I should seek professional help. 🙂

  • Alan

    2.4 Liters is about 2.5 quarts. Most washer fluid comes in gallon bottles, so no, you're no where near it holding a full bottle. However, think of it as a 25% improvement in capacity , and its a nice benefit.

  • Ryan


  • GSKChicago

    Anyone know which of the two washer fluid tanks is which? I mean, which one is for the front windshield and headlamps and then, which one is for the rear. The one on the right is which and the one on the left is which? Hope I'm making sense. :o)


  • ejkd

    cool…i like it.

  • Patrick

    We could just check our manuals!



  • Doug Kirks

    G –

    You should be able to tell by the icon on top of the lid. Also, on my '04 the winshield is on the right side of the car.

    Sith – it's not a matter of wanting every little thing – I had a Tundra (I think) that had that feature. It drives me nuts not to know when it's low. I don't want to run the pump when it's dry.

    (count me in on the retrofit bunch.)

  • ChrisLW

    Also GSK look at the covers, there's an “icon” on each one that's different.

  • G, The (USA) driver side tank is for the xenons and only present when you have xenons. The passenger side does front and rear windows.

  • dgszweda

    I get a kick out of the retrofit question as well. Everytime a new feature is talked about there is always a few asking if the item is available for retrofit. I am waiting for the new turbo engine. Someone is going to ask if they can put it in their 03

  • steve dybedock

    How will this affect the MINI alarm system option? It incorporates a red flashing strobe in the very same location. At least that's it's location on my '03.

  • paulgraz

    My 03 MCS is currently only 0.4 L???? That's under 14 ounces! Damn, it's worse than I thought! A Snapple bottle holds more! What were they thinking???

    Damn right I want to retrofit…

  • Scott

    Speaking of retrofit…

    Anyone try to retrofit a 2005 passenger side grab handle to a previous year? I'm tired of my wife complaining…

  • No I believe it's increased by .04L. It was 2.1L.

  • Steve – the alarm will move to the other side.

  • Glassintrepid

    No, it will hold 2.1 Liters.

  • derek

    How does the alarm hold 2.1 liters? Does it go off when it's empty? Does it come with a Snapple too?

  • Mark Mark

    Anyone have more info on that turbo retro. I've got an 02 that's ready for it.

  • Matt

    MINI really has to stop giving me reasons to trade in my 03

  • MiniDrew

    Wait, now why do I want to spray Snapple on my windshield?

  • Friday Crazyness …

    Scott, you can't retrofit the grab handle due to the location of the side airbags.

  • Howard

    I think a lot of 2005 car owners would like to retro fit a lot just because they are making all these nice little changes to 2005 cars built Jan 1 2005 and after and since we got an early model 2005 we got screwed out of a lot of nice features/changes.

  • Bobby


    Did you even read Gabe's article? It is being repositioned to the other side.

  • Evan

    It would be a great retrofit- both the larger tank and the warning lamp. Even my very first car, an '89 Toyota Tercel, had a low washerfluid light.

    A much better warning than the sudden loss of all pressure in the jets- when it's low it just leaks out. Then I know to fill her up.

    Retrofitting is just a way to make your MINI even more you.

  • scooblymonchee

    Fifty odd years from now, you pathological retrofitters will be cursed up and down by anal-retentive vintage car people who go to restore your Minis and are forced to de-retrofit all these little things in order to score well in concourse events.

    Judge to disappointed contestant:

    “Yes, your car is beautiful, no doubt. And I'm sure you spent many long months and thousands of dollars getting it to this point. But you see that little washer fluid warning light on the stalk there? That was not stock equipment on an '03. Someone must have retrofitted that at some point. Damn shame. Fix that and you might have a winner next time. Sorry.”

  • Doug Kirks

    LMAO!!! that is too good (and most likely true) scooblymochee.

  • Ah but it could go something like this:

    (Pebble Beach 2050):

    “While the Red and White 2002 MINI Cooper S does have incorrect wiper stalk the change is admirable. The much sought after orange indicator lamp was such an improvement that we might find no fault with the owner for retrofitting such an historically important item. 100 points!”

    “…Next over here we have the incredibly rare Pontiac Aztek…”

  • GSKChicago

    Thanks Doug Kirks, ChrisLW and Ian. Much appreciated. :o)

  • Doug Kirks

    C'mon now Gabe, don't you know by then all the Aztek's will have been destroyed by the Good Taste Police Brigade?

  • GSKChicago

    I wonder if somewhere out there, there are ten's of people that still love the Aztek.

    I wonder if there is an AztekFile.com hosted on someone's old Apple II. :o)

  • Doug Kirks

    It is out there, with a 1200 baud modem and, get ready for this, running on ProDOS 1.1.

    Mmmmm…. history.

  • Me


    1. Grow up and lose the star geek, oops wars name.

    2. Grow up and stop yelling like a 10 year old AOL'er.

    3. It's break, not brake. You stop a car with a brake, break some ones arm.

    4. Why am I bothering, you'll continue along your childish path.

  • I'm left wondering if they are changing the shape of the end of the filler tube. Besides the fact that the size of the current tank is woefully small, unless I want to spend 3 minutes filling the tank, I end up spilling a large portion of cleaning fluid. Retangular and Narrow does not make for an easy pour…

  • I once invested in a funnel – amazing technology that makes filling the MINI washer bottle much easier 😉

  • Sith Bored




  • Appalachian Mini

    After “upgrading” from my '99 Outback to my '04 Xterra I went from a 1 gallon washer fluid tank to a 1/2 gallon tank. Living the NC mountains I'm dreading a 2.5L fluid tank in the winter on my recently ordered '05 MC. Oh well, guess I'll just carry washer fluid stock in the boot like I do in my X.

  • petsounds

    I live in LA and my '04 Cooper S runs out of fluid all the time, even if I barely use it. Which leads me to believe that the fluid is evaporating due to heat from the engine. Speaking of engine heat, why does the S vent hot heat from the engine through the air vents when the A/C is off? It's like running the heater on high…

  • KevinR

    “Fifty odd years from now, you pathological retrofitters will be cursed up and down by anal-retentive vintage car people who go to restore your Minis and are forced to de-retrofit all these little things in order to score well in concourse events.”

    No way. I never throw anything out. The original parts go in a box that would go to the next owner.

  • GW

    GSK Chicago: I posted this a while back on NAM, I was thinking the same as you:

    “Last night I was thinking about the effect that MINIs have had on the automotive world and that a car like this spawns so many websites like NAM with so many passionate owners and admirers. I wondered to myself if owners of the ugliest car to ever roll across blacktop – the Pontiac Aztek – have forums like these.

    Lo and behold, Google produced this: http://www.aztekfanclub.com

    I laughed until I cried, and then held my right hand over my heart for freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom to love really, REALLY ugly cars.

    Sorry, just looking to pass the time while I wait for my car to arrive.”